Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before

Did indie become alternative or did alternative become indie? Is Spotify going to kill iTunes? Were Duran Duran a better pop band than The Kaiser Chiefs (Does anybody care?) What kind of album would Buddy Holly have produced in the mid-sixties? Was the demise of Top Of The Pops a victim of digital tv or noughties pop? Why couldn't have Otis Redding missed that plane?

Why hasn't everybody heard of Benny Profane?

Seriously, if there's a better, more overlooked band, like ever, i'll eat my stetson hat. The first song i heard by Benny Profane (on the John Peel show, summer of '89 - see previous post), "Stitch That" blew my head off and i immediately checked out it's parent album, "Trapdoor Swing". What an amazing hybrid. Musically i could hear shades of The Fall, Johnny Cash, The Velvets, Frankie Laine, Frank Sinatra and loads of old cowboy tunes , whilst lyrically it was referencing or alluding to pretty heavyweight writers such as Pynchon, Pinter, Vonnegut and Heller, not just for a pose, but actually following their attempts of decomposition, or blurring of high and low culture into a three minute pop song. Pretty mind blowing stuff for a 17 year old. I naively thought that it was only a matter of time before they were massive, that's what happens when somebody writes music good as this right? But they split up one year after i discovered them (not however before i'd snaggled a support slot for my first band The Cherrydales
at their final gig at Blackpool Jenks...)disillusioned with a lack of success.

My favourite Profane tune is probably one called 'Here Comes The Floor' which is rich with dazzling imagery, but here's that first track i heard, "Stitch That", excuse the slightly leaden 80's production and dig those lyrics and delivery. stitchthat.mp3

"and now the sounds of the limitations of our existence from the maddening crowd"

The Squire Of Somerton. i could write a book about The Squire, or Toby Jenkins as he's known to his friends, of whom, happily, i'm one. Out of all the artists i've worked with over the years, nobody who's deserved such success has achieved so little. This is a man who, when on the top of his form (and excuse me if i gush), has the melodic range of Brian Wilson, the abilty to out 'tap' Joe Santriani and can make Elton John's piano paying sound like Les Dawson. Whether as a member of Fort Lauderdale, Zan Pan or solo, The Squire has been knocking out twisted, top notch, proto-psychedelia for the last decade with absolutely no due recognition. The last i heard Toby was writing a ballet based on Mikhail Bulgakov's Master & Margarita, which will no doubt be exasperating, exhilarating and completely ignored.

Listen to this track (on which The Squire plays everything), the various interweaving themes and melodies the way the words and music are there for an absolute reason, the sheer joy a musical journey can take you on if you allow it and then gasp at the guitar solo which Toby once described to me as a mere mortal reaching for the stars... Squire of Somerton - Transverberrations.mp3

I find as i get older, i dance less often, but enjoy it more and more. I think this could be partly because i've learned which music gets me going and there's nothing that gets me going more-so than Lee Dorsey's Yes We Can (Part 1). Now, if you hadn't guessed already the general theme for this post was to write about artists who i think have been unfairly neglected and as a result it was touch and go whether to include Lee, as here is a man who hit the charts both here and in the USA, but my point is... Why the hell is Yes We Can and Lee Dorsey himself for that matter not an absolute unmitigated, respected part of the Rock/Pop/Soul cannon in the same way that Otis, Sam Cooke or Issac Hayes are? Why did i have to wait until i was in my early thirties before i heard this monster?

Download this and keep it kids, keep it for those night when you push the sofa back and kick your shoes off... lee dorsey - 01 - yes we can part i.mp3

Be good now...


Anonymous said...

Sublime blog post...thank you. I am officially in love with your writing! ;-)

'Yes We Can (Part 1)' is much too short, just when I was losing myself...

...but look! Did I just download (Part 2) from iTunes??

Oh, I did ;-D

Anonymous said...

I have just bought a ticket for this line-up at the forum. john cooper clarke, The buzzcocks and then The fall. in 198O is saw the very same line up in Leeds! m xxx